Police emergency - there's cork in my wine

Fires, serious road accidents and muggings. Many demand a 999 call. But calling emergency services to complain your wine is corked is no emergency. That didn't stop a man drinking in Manchester's Northern Quarter dialling 999 after a row with bar staff.

His actions have prompted police chiefs to warn on fines - even jail - for 999 misuse.

Bad reception

There's a roster of system abuse. Earlier this year South Yorkshire Police revealed that calls ranged from families frustrated with children refusing to go to bed, difficulty with satellite TV reception and too-loud sex. Even maggots in a bin.

However one woman, Julie Jane Thompson, 54 from Cockermouth, was last week sent to jail for 70 days for emergency line abuse. She called 999 because she claimed her dog had run off and her goldfish were about to snuff it. Thompson had previously been given an ASBO for previous 999 calls, reported the Northern England News & Star.

Another man rang the emergency services, the authorities have subsequently revealed, that a prostitute he ordered was too unattractive, breaching the Sale of Goods Act, he claimed.

Most police forces define an emergency situation as one with a serious incident in progress, with risk of injury or serious damage to property. The bottom line for the police is that 'nuisance' calls take up a disproportionate amount of time.


Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it took 3,571 emergency and non-emergency calls a day during April, May and June. However this figure soared +19% in July as the summer heat hit.

Meanwhile GMP is struggling to cope financially. Yesterday news broke that GMP was considering axing up to 700 of its 6,900 police officer force in an attempt to shave £66m in costs. Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has already made it clear that his officers are only now able to focus on 40% of all crimes.

There will be additional strain on the emergency services when firefighters across England and Wales strike on a row over pensions with a walk-out planned between 12 midday and 4pm.

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